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A Shameless Plug: The Art of the Data Center

October 19, 2012 at 10:00 am PST

One of the first things many companies do at the start of a Data Center project is look around to see what other companies have done.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a book that showcases innovative Data Centers and has insights from the people who designed and operate them?

I thought so, too.

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I’d like a side order of “tweets”, a blog, and a dozen “likes” please.

October 5, 2012 at 9:41 am PST

Like most social media users, I use sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Blogger, to reach out to family and friends, network with colleagues, and share personal blogs.  These venues make my social conversations both manageable and enjoyable.  However, when I sought to utilize social media as a way to market our department brand, I went from a fast food menu of the big three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to a dizzying array of social media networks from which to select.  Google+, Chimein, Dribbble, Picasa, Pinterest, Digg, and Instagram are just the tip of the iceberg in a sea of social media networks that number in the hundreds.  Add in the many international social media networks found around the world and what were a few simple choices, became an overwhelming social media menu; and new social media networks continue to pop up faster than I could say, “I’ll have fries with that.”

With so many choices, how would I pick and choose the most effective social media networks that would provide the perfect social media options for my branding plan?  After all, part of the “mystique” is the desire to utilize the next social media network de jour.   An impossible task that would have had me spending more time on investigating every social media option rather than actually using available networks productively, so I backed away from the menu and outlined a social media strategy by asking the following questions:

  1. Who was my audience?
  2. What was the purpose of using social media?
  3. How would I dedicate and manage my time resource and stay involved?
  4. Budget – do you have one?

My audience is made up of fast moving and customer driven, professional technical teams who digest information quickly and move on.  Social media is the vehicle that would put the information I need to get into our engineers’ hands at real time speed and with interaction exchange.   I listened to their conversations and identified topics of interest and will present information in an engaging format that will enlist their attention.  Visuals, such as pics and videos, and sound bite titles, such as tweets with links, are most successful for this group.  Additionally, by employing gamification methods as a fun teaching tool, I would build awareness in a group that is often too busy to engage.  Factor in that I had both a finite amount of time I could dedicate to these resources and encourage active participation and no budget, I would have to use free, social media resources and utilize the tools they provide for metrics oversight.

Being able to answer the above questions allowed me to narrow my choices, from the many social media networks available, to purpose-specific and globally popular social media platforms.  With recognized voices such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, most of my audience was already familiar with these social media networks and would provide an easy learning curve to those who were not.

There are countless social media tools out there and not every tool works best for all business plans.  Define your social media goals and the outcome you want before you begin selecting from the social media menu and if you are still not sure what to do, invest in a social media agency.  They can assist you in defining a social media plan with the outcome you desire.

Resources:

  1. Wikipedia -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites
  2. Building a Successful Social Media Program – Cisco Learning Catalog Course

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Loose Lips Might Sink Ships – The Conundrum of Social Communication

Loose lips might sink ships is a propaganda idiom originated during World War II to bring awareness to the hazards that may be caused by careless talk of subject matter that could be potentially vital information to the enemy.  As a US Navy veteran, I take this to heart and do my best to protect corporate data no matter how insignificant it may seem.  However, social communication sites such as FacebookTwitter and YouTube provide new avenues of personal sharing in a social context that could have considerable ramifications in a professional context.

The other day I was talking to somebody about the challenges of publicly available communication sites and concerns on how to secure professional content from being openly shared.  In many cases employees use the before mentioned sites to communicate internally or externally and often times may be sharing sensitive corporate data on these sites — not with the intent of being malicious, but because it seems like the right way to share information or they want to circumvent IT placed restrictions.  He then shared a story with me of a coworker that posted a simple status update to a social site, something to the affect Read More »

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7 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Social Media Program

September 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm PST
Success can come in many forms. Three very different success stories. Listen to the replay for details.

This week, Partner Velocity (Cisco’s program to help partners’ marketing efforts) held a one-hour webcast to help you get started with social media.

It’s a topic near and dear to my heart, so I led the webcast and provided some guidance for beginners and more advanced practitioners, tips, and tricks to help launch a social media presence.

If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry as there’s a replay available. Be sure to listen to this replay and attend the next two webinars in the series: you’ll be entered to win a US$2500 marketing consultation.

Head to the Partner Velocity site for details, and to register for the next two sessions (Social Media for Events and Creating an Integrated Campaign).

Here’s a quick recap of the topics covered in this week’s session “Building a Successful Social Media Program”:

  • How to develop a listening strategy
  • How to define and segment your audience (and create content for each persona)
  • Tips and tricks for engaging with your audience
  • Ways to design a measurement/metrics plan
  • And finally, some key takeaways and next steps

Keep reading for my seven questions to ask before launching your own social media program.

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The Social Soap Box: Digital is BIG Business in Thailand and Asia

August 17, 2012 at 12:07 pm PST

When you think of Thailand, historic Buddhist temples and shrines usually come to mind. However, during my visit to the golden land last week, I was pleasantly surprised by the proliferation of social and digital media. From QR codes to Facebook logos splattered across the many storefront windows, it’s no wonder Bangkok is ranked the largest Facebook city and Thailand ranked 16th largest Facebook country. While dining at a local restaurant in Chiang Rai, it was hard not to do a Facebook check-in when promotional materials were easily visible on tables, walls and even menus. And yes, I checked in and received my 5% discount.

Although Thailand is considered a developing country according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it’s use of digital and social media certainly makes the country advanced by any standard. According to eMarketer, Thailand is ranked fourth among Southeast Asian countries in the percentage of “likes” and “follows” corporate brands receive from consumers. The top three are Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia.  Here are  additional data from an eMarketer report:

  • 47% of APAC companies use SM, and 56% are planning to use SM
  • 47% of APAC companies use SM, and 56% are planning to use SM
  • This year, Asia-Pacific will pass North America as the region with the most Facebook users
  • Asia-Pacific has three times as many social network users as North America

For marketers and communicators, this presents a great opportunity to expand your company’s digital and social footprint. At Cisco, we are continually experimenting how to reach customers and influencers in various countries through social media. We currently have over 200 social channels globally, and approximately 12 in APAC. That includes properties on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as global outlets such as Weibo and VKontakte.

 

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